Slim ventures further into digital content

July 9, 2013

man with phoneFinancial Times, 7/9/2013

It’s possible that Carlos Slim has never downloaded an application into his mobile phone. He’s not known for his information technology prowess – he doesn’t even have a computer in his office. What he is known for is his business acumen. His latest venture into music recognition app Shazam for $40m, through his multinational telecommunication company, América Móvil, is a case in point.

The Mexican magnate’s 10.8% stake in the London-based company will allow him to offer the 262m users of his Latin American telecommunications network the ability to identify songs, videos or television programmes. The popular music recognition app will be pre-installed on mobile phones that América Móvil sells in countries such as México, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.

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Why Mexico Will Be Latin America’s Tech Leader

June 25, 2013

typing on computer keyboardABC News/Univision, 6/25/2013

A global race is on to create the next Silicon Valley, and Latin America is rapidly embracing technology and innovation as it vies to be the epicenter of the next tech boom. The stakes aren’t trivial. It’s clear that the countries that can develop new ideas and technology will be the economic winners of the 21st century. That’s why the Brazilian government, for instance, recently launched Startup Brazil, a business accelerator that aims to attract local and foreign talent to build tech companies in Brazil.

The program, which will provide entrepreneurs with up to $100,000 in grant money as well as office space and access to investors, is modeled after Startup Chile, the pioneering business accelerator launched by the Chilean government a few years ago. Chile was the first Latin American country to focus on attracting startups and developing an ecosystem of innovators. Other countries in the region, like Colombia and Peru, have followed their lead.

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How immigration reform might also spur young Americans to study math, science

June 10, 2013

shutterstock_49761472The Christian Science Monitor, 6/8/2013

Tucked into immigration reform legislation in both chambers of Congress are little-noticed measures that could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into cultivating a new generation of American students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM). Such a move could help shore up what much of corporate America and many lawmakers see as a glaring deficiency in the nation’s long-term economic competitiveness.

The bills offer at least $200 million per year (but perhaps as much as $700 million, advocates say) by channeling fees from high-skilled visas into investments in STEM education and job training. Specifically, legislators would increase the fee that employers pay to sponsor high-skilled temporary workers (visas known as H-1Bs) and direct $1,000 of that bump toward a special “STEM fund.” The fund would also be supported by an additional $1,000 cost to employers looking to sponsor H-1B workers for permanent residence in the United States.

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Op-ed: Immigration Reform and the Skills Gap

June 7, 2013

shutterstock_49761472By Rosario Marin, The Wall Street Journal, 6/6/2013

I have lived the American dream, which began when I was born in Mexico. My family and I immigrated to the U.S. on my father’s work visa when I was 14 years old, and I later served as the 41st treasurer of the United States—the only treasurer born outside of the U.S. Since its founding, America has grown stronger, and its companies more competitive, by attracting the best and brightest from around the world. So it’s a relief to see Congress finally beginning to act on immigration reform.

The key issue is improving mechanisms for legal immigration by people who will contribute to the nation’s prosperity. Unfortunately, the compromise bill that emerged from the Judiciary Committee that the Senate intends to take up next week contains provisions that would turn away some of the most highly educated people. Barring them threatens our future economic growth. The current skilled-labor shortage—particularly for workers in science, technology, engineering and math occupations—puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage. By 2020, an estimated 1.5 million jobs will go unfilled, according to McKinsey & Co. Until America can educate enough graduates in these fields to meet the demand, legal immigration is the only option to find the necessary talent.

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#DidYouKnow – Immigrants & Entrepreneurship

June 4, 2013

Immigrant Entrepreneurs

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: Immigration and the knowledge economy

April 11, 2013

shutterstock_52513291The Washington Post, 4/10/201

Earlier this year I started teaching a class on entrepreneurship at an after-school program in my community. The middle-school students put together business plans, made their products and even got an opportunity to sell them.

One day I asked my students what they thought about going to college. One of my top aspiring entrepreneurs told me he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to go to college because he’s undocumented. His family is from Mexico, and they moved here when he was a baby. Many students in my community are in the same situation; they moved to the United States so early in their lives that they have no memories of living anywhere else.

These students are smart and hardworking, and they should be part of our future

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A ‘like’ for linguistics: Can social media save Mexico’s unwritten languages?

April 2, 2013

typing on computer keyboardThe Christian Science Monitor, 4/1/2013

When Hilaria Cruz chats online in Texas with friends back home in Mexico, she switches effortlessly between two languages: Spanish and her native Chatino. The trick is that, until recently, no formal writing system existed to represent the sounds and tones of eastern Chatino, an indigenous language spoken by 20 small communities in rural southern Oaxaca. Ms. Cruz, a doctoral candidate in linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin, had a hand in creating the alphabet she now uses to post messages on Facebook.

Social media have become a crucial bridge between the academics, activists, and young people who want to preserve the more than 360 variants of indigenous languages alive in Mexico today and the communities who actively use them. Many of these don’t have any formal written system, but a growing number of indigenous young people, computer savvy and sometimes far from home, want to Facebook, tweet, and chat in their native tongue. Both through social media, and perhaps because of it, they’re joining a burgeoning movement to create alphabets and a way to write previously unwritten languages like Chatino.

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